Jekyll and Hyde

1992 Palace Software

Platform: Commodore Amiga CDTV

An ambitious title from Palace Software, which was due for release on the failed CDTV platform. An interactive movie game, where scenes would feature proper actors.

Shortly after completing Demoniak, Palace Software were inspired from that title to go one step further to move away from text based interaction and move to a fully graphical experience.

hyde1

The idea was to do a game on the famous Jekyll and Hyde, and the team would spend 9 months or so experimenting with digitised live action using a Rombo VIDI-Amiga system. The experiments were successful, leading to continue development and push ahead with the title.

The game would allow you to choose your character, Dr Jekyll, Inspector Harris, the policeman investigating Hyde or Dr Lanyon (a rival scientist) – where your actions and decisions affect the world around you. Actions would be carried out using a dynamic menu with options and the ability to build sentences from verbs and nouns.

Each character would have artificial intelligence (that apparently took programmer Chris Stangroom four years to perfect), where responses would change depending on what you do.

The development and filming was very complex as a result, where every possibility had to be worked out and storyboarded. Making it even more complicated was the use of professional actors from the likes of Coronation Street, Minder and various TV adverts of the time.

Neil Jackson from Amiga Format had visited Palace around May/June of 1992 to talk about the project, but after the one page feature – the game would just disappear.

So what happened? Well, firstly the CDTV would flop and wouldn’t be a viable platform to release on (the CD32 was still a year or so away), though there wasn’t chance to consider new platforms – as 1992 marked the year that Palace would completely close their doors.

At present, it is unknown just how far the development at got – but the article seems to suggest there was still a long way to go, and it was at the stage of trying to complete all the scenes/actions. Could anything of it be recovered some day to showcase?

With thanks to Karl Kuras for flagging up the title and links.

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